Belfast Telegraph

Belfast council 'must plan ahead to stop terrorists in the future'

By Suzanne Breen

Security measures to deal with the risk of suicide bombers and other attackers must be considered at council-run events in Belfast involving large crowds, an internal document warns.

It focuses on the possible terrorist dangers at council-organised events which don't take place at the City Hall.

It states that "particular care should be exercised where events are planned to take place outdoors due to the additional difficulties in securing the site".

The document notes that "a series of terrorist attacks on crowded public spaces across Europe, the USA and other countries has produced mass casualties in many cases".

It lists atrocities that have taken place in Manchester, London, Berlin, Brussels, Madrid and elsewhere.

"The only organising principle which seems to exist in relation to these disparate attacks is that they target places where large numbers of people are gathered - at a concert or nightclub, a busy street or station, a sports event or a Christmas market," it says.

The document warns that "there is no reason to suppose that Belfast will be immune from such attacks in the future".

It advises measures to "maximise the safety of patrons attending council-run events" in order to "protect them as far as possible from potential terrorist attack".

The terrorist threat must be "specifically considered at the planning stage of all events", the document stresses.

Organisers must consider the risk of a car bomb or "the use of a heavy vehicle to inflict intentional casualties when driven at speed into a crowded space".

They should also consider what measures are necessary to protect against suicide bombers or the planting of "a device in places where mass casualties are most likely".

Organisers must think about what measures are necessary to ensure bags are checked upon entry - including either comprehensive or random searches - and to ensure that "unattended bags are promptly detected".

They must consider measures to "help detect the presence of knives or other offensive weapons".

And they should also consider what aspects of an event, "its subject matter, its organisers or its likely attendees might make an attack more likely".

Liaising with the PSNI to ascertain what specific intelligence is available is recommended.

Planning is also urged for evacuation and management procedures "in order to cope with a major terrorist incident".

Belfast Telegraph

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